Now is the time for the President to show the courage of his convictions by taking executive action to ensure that U.S. assistance will be available for abortion access for women who survive rape or incest, or whose lives are endangered by a pregnancy. It is the right thing to do. The time to act is now.
The Helms Amendment prevents U.S. foreign assistance programs from supporting abortion "as a method of family planning." But since the law's inception in 1973, the U.S. government has wrongly implemented it as a total ban on funding for abortion -- even in cases of incest, rape, and life endangerment.
President Obama can -- and must -- fix the policy of turning women away in the extreme cases of life-endangering pregnancies or those resulting from rape. Until Congress does the right thing and overturns the harmful law in its entirety, he can take a first step to ensure that U.S. programs are part of the solution, not the problem.